Find or Sell any Parts for Your Vehicle in USA

Driving safety proposal postponed

Fri, 20 Dec 2013

A PROMISED Green Paper on young driver safety has been postponed again - to the dismay of Labour and safety and motoring groups.

The paper was to have been published at various stages this year but the Government has now pushed it back into 2014.

Labour MP Richard Burden accused the Government of "kicking a decision into the long grass" while the RAC said the delay is "unfortunate".

There was also criticism from David Davies, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety (Pacts).

"It looks like a clear case of putting politics before the safety of young people, giving the general election priority over saving lives," he said.

News of the postponement of the Green Paper came in a Parliamentary Answer from Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill.

"The safety of young people on our roads is very important to us. Too many young people die, too often. But we are wrestling with how to make things safer, while not unduly restricting the freedom of our young people," he said.

"We want young people to be able to get to work and training, to education and to leisure activities, and we want them to do so safely. We are finding this a difficult balance, with passionate voices on both sides. We will issue a paper when we have considered this further."

Mr Burden said: "Let's not forget that this Green Paper will only set out initial proposals for discussion. That's why I share road safety campaigners' concerns that the Government won't take action within this parliament, and are just kicking a decision on this major public health and safety problem into the long grass."

The RAC's technical director, David Bizley, said: "It is unfortunate that there has been a further delay to the Green Paper which was originally scheduled for publication this summer.

"We want to see concerted action from government, insurers and other stakeholder groups to address a problem that is a top priority for improving safety on our roads."

Pacts pointed out that almost a quarter of the road crashes resulting in death or serious injury in 2012 involved a driver under the age of 24.

Mr Davies said: "Ministers have admitted that they are reneging on their repeated commitments to publish a consultation paper on young driver safety this year.

"It looks like a clear case of putting politics before the safety of young people, giving the general election priority over saving lives. Pacts is dismayed that the Government is not prepared even to consult on such a vital issue."

AA president Edmund King said: "We had been expecting a Government consultation on new drivers originally before the summer and latterly before Christmas.

"Reading between the lines, there appears to be divisions between the Curfew Crew - those who think the answer is driving teenagers off the roads by raising the driving age and then restricting drivers with curfews - and the Training Tendency - those who want to improve the training of drivers before they take to the road rather than restricting them afterwards."

Mr King went on: "Whether we like it or not, radical changes to the driving age and restrictions are a political issue. Today's 17-year-olds don't want to be restricted and, if they are, they will probably vote with their wheels when they are over 18 at the next election.

"There are also genuine concerns that increasing the driving age may push some young people out of the job market - either as drivers or because they can't get to work. However, the Green Paper will be a consultation paper rather than Government policy, so why not publish the paper and let the people decide?"

By Peter Woodman, Press Association